Loving Enemies, Even When God Doesn’t

Most Reformed do not think it is their responsibility to love their enemies. They may blow smoke about God’s “ordained” (and thus they think legitimate) nation-state, but the reality is that they are packing guns and ready to kill, and tell you that you are tempting God if you don’t pack guns and kill for your family.

Most of them (except the theonomists) don’t even concern themselves about what standard God judges the nation-state. Many of them talk about a “natural law”, but what is natural and obvious to them is not to other people.

I guess I think the key, both to pacifism and to the duty of loving enemies (Luke 6), is the distinction between God and us humans. We are not God. We have no right to act like God, or as if we were his agents to kill.

This means we can be commanded to do “more” back to them than they would do, without this saying that God is going to love them more than they love God.

I don’t think God loves them at all, at least not our non-elect enemies. God is going to get even, more than that, God is going to destroy them. So the “be ye perfect” (not Luke but Matthew) is a command for us to not discriminate, even though God does discriminate.

God is kind to the “ungrateful and the evil” elect. I am not convinced that God is being kind to the tares, the goats, the non-elect. Rain is not a blessing for them,
Romans 1:32. “Even though they know that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. Having exchanged the true God for a lie, their next sin becomes God’s wrath for their last sin, and God’s wrath is being revealed not only in the future but even now in their sin.

God’s punishing them now, and God will destroy them at the second death.

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13 Comments on “Loving Enemies, Even When God Doesn’t”

  1. David Bishop Says:

    Christ never taught that lust is a sin only when it is done in the name of the gospel. Nor did He teach that swearing an oath is a sin only when it is done in the name of the gospel. Most Reformed will agree with this. Yet they’ll turn right around and argue the idea that Christ did teach that murder is a sin only when it is done in the name of persecution for the gospel. It boggles my mind how they can reach this conclusion. But I suppose I too am self-deceived when it comes to certain of my own sins.

  2. markmcculley Says:

    But it makes a difference to the guy you kill. As he is dying, he says to himself: at least he didn’t kill me as a Christian. At least, at the end of the day, he says, that guy forgot all about his being a Christian, and killed me just like anybody else would. He didn’t throw his own body in between me and them, he didn’t throw his own body on me, no he took out a gun and killed me, just like I would have done to him except he did it to me. At least I know he’s just like me. He doesn’t really believe in resurrection, and he doesn’t really trust God when it comes right down to it.

  3. mark mcculley Says:

    I read an Anglican (Phillip Jensen) who said when he first became a Christian he was a pacifist and an Arminian, but that now he was neither. He said you couldn’t be a pacifist and still believe in a God who commanded holy war and who will destroy the non-elect. But we are not God, and God does not command us to do what God does. By the same “logic”, one could say that God can’t command us to love everybody since God Himself elects and doesn’t love everybody. Or else he could still be an Arminian!

  4. mark mcculley Says:

    from a mennonite I know: the unconditional forgiveness of God is conditioned on you being unconditionally forgiving. You are secure only if you forgive, as long as you forgive.. But it’s not only mennonites who teach such a view of “perseverance”. Nor is it only “federal visionists”. A lot of Banner of Truth “Reformed Baptists” say the same thing, even though they won’t forgive me for saying this.

  5. markmcculley Says:

    Matthew 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers,[i] what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

  6. markmcculley Says:

    “The Dominion of Providence over the Passions of Men” was arguably the most important Witherspoon argument the Princeton president ever made. It was a sermon, based on Psalm 76:10 (“Surely the wrath of men shall praise thee; the remainder of Wrath shalt thou restrain.”), and delivered on Friday, May 17, 1776, a day designated by the Continental Congress to be set aside for prayer. That Witherspoon delievered this sermon on behalf of American independence on a Friday, as opposed to Sunday, or the Lord’s Day as Presbyterians called it, was a concession to the differences between the affairs of men (politics) and the ways of the divine (piety). He even admitted in the sermon that his bringing politics into the pulpit was odd. “You are my witnesses,” Witherspoon declared to the Princetonians gathered in the town’s Presbyterian church, “that this is the first time of my introducing any political subject into the pulpit.” Even so, the sermon which must have lasted for over an hour proved to be so useful for the purposes of independence that it was published the next month in Philadelphia where the Continental Congress was then meeting. Its popularlity also accounts for Witherspoon’s election in late June of 1776 to serve in Congress as a representative from New Jersey, a post that placed him in good stead to sign the Declaration of Independence. The timing of the sermon in Witherspoon’s own career and in the conception of a nation about to be born no doubt accounts also for the decision to make it the first text included in the multi-volume edition of Witherspoon’s works. Still, for all of the circumstances that help to explain the legendary status this sermon achieved, the logic of Witherspoon’s devotional discourse was equally powerful in giving voice to a conception of liberty that would prove to be enduring among American Protestants.

    On the surface, the text from Psalm 76 was an odd one for the points the Presbyterian college president would hope to make. In the first part of the sermon Witherspoon wrestled with the idea that human evil, “the wrath of men,” could in fact glorify God. Without addressing the question of theodicy directly — the defense of divine goodness in the light of human wickedness and suffering — he did attempt to do justice to the paradoxical character of divine will, that is, how ultimate good could emerge through proximate evil. Some of his examples were unimaginative, such as the idea that without suffering people tend to grow complacent, or the even more obvious notion that the wrath of men noted in the Psalm “clearly points out the corruption of our nature,” a point seldom missed by ministers of Calvinistic persuasion like Witherspoon. But when he turned to the positive effects of suffering the relevance of the sermon to the cause of American independence became more difficult to discern. For instance, the death of Christ and its larger theological significance as a triumph over sin and death was for Witherspoon indicative of the lesson that “Persecution has been but as the furnace to the gold, to purge it of its dross, to manifest its purity, and increase its lustre.” Not only was the martyrdom of the early church “the seed of Christianity,” but at the time of the Protestant Reformation “nothing contributed more to facilitate its reception and increase its progres than the violence of its persecutors.”

    The trouble with these illustrations and the reasoning behind them was that the paradoxical quality of suffering could work against independence as much as for it. If the wrath of man actually contributed to divine glory, and if the parliament and king were treating the colonists unfairly by taxing them without adequate political representation, could not the difficulties caused by such treatment be interpreted as adding to God’s praise? Or if suffering and persecution had historically increased the resolve of Christians, would not the slights from London endured by believers living in the British colonies bolster their trust in and dependence upon God? To be sure, Witherspoon’s reasons for appealing to this biblical text made some sense; he was, after all, trying to nurture the resolve of patriots about to enter a difficult struggle with one of the more powerful nations on earth. Still, attempting to employ the logic of Christian suffering to justify political rebellion was an argument that could easily backfire.

    Even more strained was Witherspoon’s logic when he turned to the topic of religious liberty. In the second part of the sermon, where he applied the meaning of the text to the political situation in the colonies, Witherspoon attempted to inspire his listeners to patriotic greatness by exhorting them to trust in God and hope “for his assistance in the present important conflict.” [549] The patriots could, he believed, have confidence in divine assistance if their cause was just, their principles pure, and their conduct prudent. Although the character of the patiots’ principles and conduct gave Witherspoon room to conclude the sermon with admonitions to greater selflessness and virtue, he had little doubt about the nature of their cause. “[T]he cause in which America is now in arms,” he declared, “is the cause of justice, of liberty, and of human nature.” Witherspoon explained this assertion by noting that the colonists had not been motivated by “pride, resentment, or sedition.” Instead, the desire for independence from England arose from “a deep and general conviction” that religious and civil liberty, as well as “the temporal and eternal happiness of us and our society” depended on political autonomy. Here Witherspoon was not simply regarding religious liberty as one part of a broader set of civil liberties, as if civil liberty would guarantee freedom of conscience. Instead, he had a more precise relationship between civil and religious liberty. “The knowledge of God and his truths,” Witherspoon further elaborated, “have from the beginning of the world been chiefly, if not entirely, confined to those parts of the earth, where some degree of liberty and political justice were to be seen . . .”

    In effect, Witherspoon was articulating the logic of many American Protestants after him which assumed that true religion, that is, Protestant Christianity, only flourished where civil magistrates protected civil liberties. The flip side of this assumption was the similar belief that Protestantism was the best soil from which civil liberty could grow. Witherspoon made this relationship crystal clear when he asserted that “There is not a single instance in history in which civil liberty was lost, and religious liberty preserved entire.” For this reason, if the colonists were to “yield up our temporal property” to parliament through unfair taxes, they would also be delivering their consciences “into bondage.”

    The religious basis for political freedom allowed Witherspoon to end his famous sermon with a call for greater religious and moral zeal. “[H]e is the best friend to American liberty,” the Presbyterian concluded, “who is most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion, and who sets himself with the greatest firmness to bear down profanity and immorality of every kind.” This did not imply political preference for the theological descendents of John Calvin. Witherspoon’s brief for true religion did not include great concern for the “circumstantials of religion, or the contentions of one sect with another about their peculiar distinctions.” Debates then about the mode of baptism, the frequency of observing the Lord’s Supper or even the extent of Christ’s atonement were not at issue in this notion of “true and undefiled religion.” Roman Catholicism would eventually emerge as a problem for the advocates of religious and civil liberty in part because the papacy would reveal itself fairly hostile to those notions as they developed in Europe after the French Revolution. But most Protestants were welcome — the Church of England being an obvious exception — as long as they were morally upright or, in Witherspoon’s words, felt “more joined in spirit to a true holy person of a different denomination, than to an irregular liver of his own.” In effect, the combination of moral integrity, fear of God, obedience to divine law, and the resistance to the temptations of vice, was the religious recipe for civil liberty. What this list meant for the nonreligious was of course a problem that Witherspoon avoided, especially when signing Thomas Jefferson’s “Declaration of Independence.” But a month or so before the distribution of that document, the difficulties raised by the presence of non-orthodox Protestants could be set aside.

    Of course, Witherspoon’s assertions were explicitly political in the sense that his understanding of the relationship between religious and civil liberty had a direct bearing on the issue of political independence from Britain. But his ideas had much broader significance for the way that Anglo-American Protestants would understand the place of faith within the political and cultural institutions of the United States. Witherspoon was just one voice in a much wider development that characterized Congregationalists in New England, Presbyterians in the middle colonies, and that eventually would permeate Baptists and Methodists who were setting up churches as fast as the frontier pushed south and west. In particular, Witherspoon’s ideas on Christianity liberty were foundational for what Mark A. Noll has recently called Christian republicanism. Politically, this constellation of ideas featured two main themes, according to Noll: “fear of abuses from illegitimate power and a nearly messianic belief in the benefits of liberty.” As such the best form of government was one that preserved freedom, which would in turn nuture human flourishing. The obvious corrolary to the ideal of liberty was that any form of political interference with freedom would degrade persons and prevent national prosperity. As Noll writes, the “critical oppositions” in Christian republicanism were “virtue against corruption, liberty against slavery.” Of course, the danger of liberty was libertinism and that is why religion was so crucial to liberty’s success. As much as Witherspoon the Calvinist might have registered reservations about giving sinful human beings unprecedented political freedom, as long as these free citizens were devout the excesses of liberty did not need to be feared. For the logic of Christian republicanism concluded that virtue (“defined as disinterested public service”) promoted freedom and social harmony, while vice (that is, “luxury, self-seeking, idleness, and frivolity”) yielded tyranny and social unrest.

    p47-51, beyond a secular faith, hart

  7. markmcculley Says:

    Psalm 58:6 God, knock the teeth out of their mouths;

    prayerbook of the Bible, p 157—It does not matter whether the Psalms express exactly what we feel in our heart at the moment we pray. We must pray against our own heart in order to pray rightly [in and with Jesus Christ]

    According to Bonhoeffer, the Lord’s Prayer serves as a summary of the prayers of the Psalms The enemies referred to in the psalms are enemies of God’s cause, who lay hands on us because of God. Therefore it is nowhere a matter of personal conflict. Those who pray these psalms must abandon all personal thoughts of revenge and must be free from their own thirst for revenge; otherwise vengeance is not seriously left to God., p 174

    Once we call upon the vengeance of God,we necessarily renounce our own quest for vengeance. How do we know that we seek God’s vengeance and not our own vengeance? The person who consigns vengeance to God alone is prepared to suffer and to endure, becomes gentle in spirit, peaceable, loving the enemy, We do not fight our enemies in the ways that we arrange and desire

    It is only when one loves life and the world so much that without them everything would be gone, that one can believe in the resurrection and a new world. It is only when one submits to the law that one can speak of grace, and only when one sees he anger and wrath of God hanging like grim realities over the head of one’s enemies that one can know something of what it means to love and forgive them. I don’t think it is Christian to want to get to the New Testament too soon and too directly. Letters from Prison, p 79

    137: 9 Happy is he who takes your little ones
    and dashes them against the rocks.

    Is the problem that the little ones are not believers, or is the problem that the little ones are not Abraham’s children?

    David pretending to be insane
    Psalm 34: 21 Evil brings death to the wicked,
    and those who hate the righteous will be punished.
    22 The Lord redeems the life of His servants,
    and all who take refuge in Him will not be punished.

    Psalm 69—Those who hate me without cause
    are more numerous than the hairs of my head;
    my deceitful enemies, who would destroy me,
    are powerful.
    Though I did not steal, I must repay.
    5 God, You know my foolishness,
    and my guilty acts are not hidden from You.
    6 Do not let those who put their hope in You
    be disgraced because of me,
    Lord God of Hosts;
    do not let those who seek You
    be humiliated because of me,
    God of Israel.
    7 For I have endured insults because of You,
    and shame has covered my face.

    psalm 109: 4
    In return for my love they accuse me,
    but I continue to pray.
    5 They repay me evil for good,
    and hatred for my love.
    6 Set a wicked person over him;
    let an accuser stand at his right hand.
    7 When he is judged, let him be found guilty,
    and let his prayer be counted as sin.
    8 Let his days be few;
    let another take over his position. Judas
    Psalm 2: 9
    You will break them with a rod of iron;
    You will shatter them like pottery.”
    10 So now, kings, be wise;
    receive instruction, you judges of the earth.
    11 Serve the Lord with reverential awe
    and rejoice with trembling.
    12 Pay homage to the Son or He will be angry
    and you will perish in your rebellion,
    for His anger may ignite at any moment.
    All those who take refuge in Him are happy

    Revelation 1: 4 His head and hair were white like wool—white as snow—and His eyes like a fiery flame. 15 His feet were like fine bronze as it is fired in a furnace, and His voice like the sound of cascading waters. 16 He had seven stars in His right hand; a sharp double-edged sword came from His mouth, and His face was shining like the sun at midday

    • markmcculley Says:

      Job 3: May the day I was born perish,
      and the night when they said,
      “A boy is conceived.”
      4 If only that day had turned to darkness!
      May God above not care about it,
      or light shine on it.
      5 May darkness and gloom reclaim it,
      and a cloud settle over it.
      May an eclipse of the sun terrify it.
      6 If only darkness had taken that night away!
      May it not appear among the days of the year
      or be listed in the calendar.
      7 Yes, may that night be barren;
      may no joyful shout be heard in it.
      8 Let those who curse certain days
      cast a spell on it,

      Ecclesiastes 6: 3 A man may father a hundred children and live many years. No matter how long he lives, if he is not satisfied by good things and does not even have a proper burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. 4 For he comes in futility and he goes in darkness, and his name is shrouded in darkness. 5 Though a stillborn child does not see the sun and is not conscious, it has more rest than he. 6 And if he lives a thousand years twice, but does not experience happiness, do not both go to the same place?
      those who are skilled in rousing Leviathan.
      9 May its morning stars grow dark.
      May it wait for daylight but have none;
      may it not see the breaking of dawn.
      10 For that night did not shut
      the doors of my mother’s womb,
      and hide sorrow from my eyes.
      11 Why was I not stillborn;
      why didn’t I die as I came from the womb?
      12 Why did the knees receive me,
      and why were there breasts for me to nurse?

      Psalm 58: The wicked go astray from the womb;
      liars err from birth.
      4 They have venom like the venom of a snake,
      like the deaf cobra that stops up its ears,
      5 that does not listen to the sound of the charmers
      who skillfully weave spells.
      6 God, knock the teeth out of their mouths;
      Lord, tear out the young lions’ fangs.
      7 They will vanish like water that flows by;
      they will aim their useless arrows.[c][d]
      8 Like a slug that moves along in slime,
      like a woman’s miscarried child,
      they will not see the sun.

  8. markmcculley Says:

    I Corinthians 16: 22 If anyone does not love the Lord, a curse be on him. Maranatha that is, Lord, come![

    Does God’s “infinite wrath” mean that finite sinners will need to go on sinning forever?

    Must Satan keep sinning forever in order for God to display all of God’s “infinite” glory?

    when God said in Romans 12, I will repay, does that mean that God will never be done displaying God’s wrath?

    will there be no “closure”?

    will justice against the non-elect ever be obtained?

    or will sin always keep up with God?

    more sin, more wrath, more sin, and sword brings sword, is this what God planned?

    Did God by nature have to display His wrath or did God decide to?

    Why didn’t God display His wrath before God created the world?

    Is the creation a display of God’s wrath?

    Was the creation a means for displaying God’s wrath?

    Romans 1–the wrath is being revealed already (sin against those who sin), not only is it being revealed that there will be wrath

    John –I did not come to judge
    but I will judge

    John 14:19 will see me no more

    but they will

    the gospel does not condemn, because we are already condemn
    disobedience to the gospel brings guilt and death

    II Corinthians 2: 14 But thanks be to God, who always puts us on display in Chris and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. 15 For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 16 To some we are an aroma of death leading to death, but to others, an aroma of life leading to life.

  9. markmcculley Says:

    sarcasm alert—Swords do not cut ears off. People do. And this proves that, even if you should not cut certain ears off, you most definitely should always carry a sword. But be careful not to imitate Jesus, because Jesus abandoned his duties to the common good, to kill for justice. Jesus cannot be our example, even though Jesus is human because Jesus is God, and Jesus did not have citizenship in both kingdoms. To act like Jesus did would be an under realized eschatology, because things have changed for us, now that Jesus has been raised from the dead, and given us the duty to serve in both kingdoms (which Jesus could not do back in His time).

    Since soldiers from the Roman occupation were never told to stop being soldiers, it would be sheer gnosticism and pietism and legalism for Americans to rise up in rebellion against the soliders of the British occupation. If being an unjust steward of another man’s taxes is an immoral thing to do, there is no way that Jesus would ever use that metaphor in a parable. And if “I am the bread” is merely a metaphor for the killing of Jesus, that would mean that the body of Jesus is not really present when we eat Him but we know that when we eat Jesus, He not only becomes part of us but we become part of Jesus.

    The important things to remember is that the regulative principle does not apply to the secular kingdom. As long as something is not forbidden in the common natural law, anything goes in the kingdom we have in common with our neighbors. Killing the bad guys does not have to be commanded, and we are no longer restricted by God putting a mark on Cain or by the laws of the Mosaic covenant

    corinthians caricature by a two kingdom person

    5: 9 I wrote to you in a letter not to associate with sexually immoral people. But this does not mean to leave the kingdom of creation, where there are many immortal people. And it also doe not mean in the visible church, and a visible church is always a mixed bag, and only people who are too certain of themselves would ever judge other people in the church. Otherwise you would have to leave the world. Do not even eat with such persons, unless they are receiving the means of grace from ordained clergy, or working with you in the secular kingdom for the extermination of Muslims. But even then, when you eat together in the army, don’t forget that it’s not heaven and you are not eating as a Christian but as a secular American. Even though it’s not our business to judge outsiders, we must judge those who were born in the visible church, and keep them from coming to the table too soon, in our opinion. When we judge those who have been baptized in water and in the name of the Trinity, we are not judging those who are outside. As long as we make a distinction church and world, we can kill for the world. As long as we make a distinction between creation and redemption, we can kill other creatures as long as we do not do so in the name of redemption. As for sabbath, we do it in both names. as both creation and redeemed.

    God was morally required to put Cain to death, or have God’s agent put Cain to death. It would have been sheer immorality for God to have put a mark on Cain preventing justice being done. Abel’s blood cried out for justice, and anybody with a sword would have done not only a private but a public good by killing Cain.


  10. markmcculley Says:


    — blame Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas:

    “You know, I was debating an evangelical professor on NPR, and this professor said, ‘Pastor, don’t you want a candidate who embodies the teaching of Jesus and would govern this country according to the principles found in the Sermon on the Mount?’” Jeffress said. “I said, ‘Heck no.’ I would run from that candidate as far as possible, because the Sermon on the Mount was not given as a governing principle for this nation.”

    Because what matters, apparently, is power and order.

    “Nowhere is government told to forgive those who wrong it, nowhere is government told to turn the other cheek,” Jeffress said.

    The conservative pastor said earlier this week that police officers are “ministers of God sent by God to punish evil doers” — which is what he said the Bible calls for in a president.

    “Government is to be a strongman to protect its citizens against evildoers. When I’m looking for somebody who’s going to deal with ISIS and exterminate ISIS, I don’t care about that candidate’s tone or vocabulary, I want the meanest, toughest, son of a you-know-what I can find — and I believe that’s biblical.”

    This is, actually, solid and fairly straightforward Protestant theology, and dovetails well with the historic teaching of the church. Martin Luther said very similar things about the state and its rulers, whether they faced domestic rebellion or external threat.

    But like a good Protestant, he mistakes church teaching for biblical teaching. The Bible is much more mixed and nuanced on the moral nature of government — our teaching is distilled from scripture and the need of Christians through history to be morally right, to be sinless, to be justified, in their thoughts and deeds. Government appears, biblically, to be little more than an inescapable necessity, and is not dealt with in the Bible in any systematic fashion. There is no recipe for government in scripture (just as there isn’t in the Qur’an, despite the belief on many Muslims to the contrary), just a set of rules on how a community people should live and the story of that people’s failure to live by those rules.

    Some have taken Samuel’s description of a king in 1 Samuel 8 to be a recipe for government — Martin Luther did, as did James VI/II — but that appears to be a warning to Israel of what they are bringing upon themselves by failing to trust God and demanding regular government rather than a recipe for how a king should act.

    What scripture doesn’t appear to believe in is democracy. Or representative government. Certainly not popular sovereignty. If anything, scripture tells the story of a people who are frequently subject to government that is not their own, in which they have no say, far more than they govern themselves. That’s the forgotten context of Jeremiah 29 (“seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile”), the restoration at the end of Chronicles (“Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth…”), and Romans 13 (“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”) — a community of people conquered, occupied, scattered, and ruled not just by foreigners but by enemies.

    The Sermon on the Mount which Jeffress says has no governing value (and to be fair, Martin Luther said it had no governing value either), is actually a set of instructions on how to trust God, have hope, and live under brutal exile — to know that your enemies have not won even as they appear to have all the power in the world — and not merely a guide to good behavior. Whether government should forgive or not is only important when Christians govern, and that does not appear to be a New Testament expectation.

    Christians are expected to love and forgive their enemies. Because there is no New Testament expectation (or even an Old Testament one, for that matter) that Christians will defeat, conquer, and kill those enemies. They are God’s alone to deal with.

    We do know that, in the Old Testament, when faced with a rapacious enemy (Syria), the Prophet Elisha not only forgave, blessed, and healed that enemy — again and again — he also once sent their army home unharmed after giving them a meal. An army that would, in a later vision given to Elijah, do much evil to the people of Israel:

    You will set on fire their fortresses, and you will kill their young men with the sword and dash in pieces their little ones and rip open their pregnant women. (2 Kings 8:12b)

    Israel is governed. But God does the governing, through agents God chooses in God’s way. Time and again, God tells Israel “I am your king,” and appoints vice-regents in the form of Moses and Joshua and the Judges and even Cyrus, the king of Persia. But God does the appointing, and not the people. The Judges are emergency rulers, raised to redeem Israel from Canaanite and Philistine occupation — occupation and rule Israel has come to deserve because of its idolatry, its faith in the false gods of its neighbors.

  11. markmcculley Says:

    II Corinthians 5:14-15, “For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one died for all, therefore all have died, and he died for all, that those who live would no longer live for themselves but who for themselves for him who for their sake died and was raised.”

    This text does not mean that Christ died for everybody. But some say it does, because they argue those for whom Christ did not die would have no responsible to not live for themselves.

    I have a two part answer. One, everybody is born condemned but nobody knows that they are not elect. Two, even if a person did know they were non-elect, that would not mean they had no accountability to the law of Christ. Even if the rich guy was not elect, he was still under law to God.

  12. markmcculley Says:

    Lee Irons—The Jesus Storybook Bible presents a sentimental gospel, trading the true gospel of a holy God’s just wrath against human rebellion being satisfied by the propitiatory sacrifice of his Son, for the imitation “look alike” gospel of God’s sappy, tearful, undying, unconditional love for “his children” (all humanity). we are told, not that sin is rebellion against God deserving his wrath. Rather, “not being close to God was like a punishment,” and so, by implication, the punishment Jesus took was “not being close to God.” That seems a far cry from saying that Jesus bore God’s wrath in our place. If God’s love is primary, if the root of sin is distrust in God’s love, and if the human race is merely wandering from God rather than condemned under his punitive wrath, then it is hard to see what prevents us from taking the next logical step, namely, denying that Christ bore the wrath of God


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